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Monday, March 28, 2022

2023: Our Only Option - Tom FredFish

Pastor Umo Eno 

In my decades of inquiry into the role of peace and security to nation-building, one inevitable conclusion is that no country, state, or community can experience meaningful growth or progress without peaceful coexistence among one another.

Analysis from various researches showed that insecurity affects economic growth by drying-out investments, increasing unemployment, and dwindling government revenue, amongst others. The evidence in Nigeria is at an alarming proportion showing its ugly head in various facets of our national life. Lives are lost on daily basis, population depleted, businesses in comatose, investments are nose-diving, multinationals closing shops and vacating the country, unemployment soaring, and the populace living in fear. It poses a threat to governance and economic growth especially, in developing societies like ours. 

Scholars like Stewart (2004) highlighted the economic cost of insecurity to include people who are killed or flee during the crisis and can no longer work productively; schools, power stations, and roads are destroyed reducing the productive capacity of the economy. 

Not even Russian President Vladimir Putin envisioned that the damage the war he instigated against Ukraine would bore a huge cost on his country. According to a report monitored by this writer, President Putin has lost thousands of soldiers with over 10 Top Army Generals. President Mohammadu Buhari, after 6 years in office on May 2021, admitted that his inability to perform in the office is because of insecurity in the country. Available data on the economic impact of violence on the countries’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) according to the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP) in its 2021 report on the economic value of peace, showed that as much as eight percent of Nigeria’s GDP or $132.59 billion (N50.38 trillion at N380/$1) is being impacted economically by growing violence around the country.

In his first four years in office, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state was consistently in the news undertaking reforms that placed Kaduna state on global reckoning but with the emergence of banditry, Governor el-Rufai has made no considerable attempt to grow the state in the past 3 years. 

The above examples show that peace and security is a vital enabler of growth and economic development. It is not new in world politics. A Nobel Peace Prize award is dedicated to those who promote peace since 1901. The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded 102 times to 137 Nobel Prize laureates between 1901 and 2021 to 109 individuals and 28 organizations in total. Some of the recipients are Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Betty Williams, Tegla Laroupe, Dalai Lama, and Martin Luther King. 

As humans converge daily, crisis is inevitable. Hence the invaluable contributions of peacemakers must be appreciated and supported. Howbeit, God, in the Holy Book acknowledges only peacemakers as his children in Matthew 5:9 that "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."

To determine economic growth is to sustain peace. To lay the foundation of peace is to recruit the right leadership. The fundamental tenet for sustaining peace encompasses qualities, and attributes of individuals that can drive peace. With the contentious issue of cultism that is plaguing our public secondary schools, ritual killings, kidnapping, and increasing social menace, only a benign leadership can inspire people in the middle of these raging conflicts. Governor Udom Emmanuel having known the catalyst for sustaining peace established a political body, Maintain Peace Movement, MPM, to evangelize the gospel of peace. Umo Eno, an aspirant of PDP on his part, says that his only agenda for Akwa Ibom state from 2023 is peace and prosperity. 

As Akwa Ibom decides in 2023, given that peace is sine-qua-non to development and beyond the generic expounding on what constitutes a good leader, only leaders with peaceful disposition, one that promotes peace as an agenda should have our support. Our only option in 2023 is to align with peace and prosperity which is what Umo Eno represents, and what Emmanuel Enoidem drives in MPM. 

The available option as we canvass for the right leaders in 2023 is to lower our searchlight and focus on Umo Eno's Peace and Prosperity agenda which is driven by the prevailing peaceful atmosphere pursued by Mr. Udom Emmanuel since assuming office in 2015; with the belief that Umo Eno's basic priority is to sustain peace and engender policies that would make Akwa Ibom people prosper. 

_Dr. Tom FredFish is a Journalist and lecturer at the International Institute of Journalism, IIJ, Uyo._

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